Ontario Helps Small Municipalities Plan for Infrastructure Needs
January 11, 2019
Communities in rural and northern Ontario are getting in-person expert assistance
NEWBURY— Fifty-eight rural Ontario municipalities will receive expert infrastructure planning help, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, announced today.
“This assistance will help many rural and northern communities map out the future,” said McNaughton, who delivered the news in Newbury, Ontario, the village where he was born and raised. Newbury is among the 58 communities receiving help.
“We know that infrastructure spending benefits families and businesses,” McNaughton said. “We have to ensure funds are spent in the right place, at the right time and on the right project.”
In parts of Ontario, infrastructure is deteriorating a rate faster than it can be repaired or replaced. Municipalities are now required to develop asset management plans, which will help guide decisions on infrastructure spending.
At the same time, the government is working to reduce a projected $14.5-billion deficit.
“Infrastructure spending has real benefits for the people of Ontario,” said McNaughton. “But in our current environment, spending decisions must be targeted, sustainable and focused on the long term.”
Today’s announcement means Newbury and 57 other small communities across the province will benefit from expert, in-person assistance in developing an asset management plan. The program is being delivered by the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association of Ontario in partnership with the Province.
“For a small municipality like ours, having expert advice will make a big difference. It will help us to identify specific infrastructure needs and plan for our community’s future,” said Newbury Reeve Diane Brewer.
The provincial government recognizes that developing and improving asset management plans is challenging work, especially for small municipalities with limited staff and resources. This work is critical to sustaining necessary services, such as roads, bridges and clean drinking water.
“The initiative is a good example of how our government is working with small and rural municipalities to make it easier for them to deliver effective services,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Development of asset management plans will help small municipalities build more competitive communities and improve the lives of the people in Ontario.”
All 444 municipalities in Ontario are required to develop and adopt a strategic asset management policy by July 1, 2019 and complete asset management plans addressing all of their assets by July 1, 2024.
Ontario has earmarked about $2.1 million over three years to help approximately 250 small municipalities to develop and improve their asset management planning.
The initiative is being delivered in three phases by the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association (MFOA) in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Through another partnership with the MFOA, the Ministry of Infrastructure supported the development of a toolkit to help municipalities with their strategic asset management policy, a precursor to an asset management plan.